Deportivo bring Barcelona back to earth

Barcelona, who were knocked off top by Real Madrid's 2-1 win at Real Betis, were disappointing against struggling Deportivo.

Barcelona, coming off the greatest comeback in Champions League history with a 6-1 defeat of PSG on Wednesday, went down just before half-time on Sunday thanks to a Joselu strike. The last game can always play a role.

The hosts took the lead after 40 minutes when Joselu bundled home at the back post following a fumbled save by Barcelona goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen, only for the Catalans to restore parity just seconds into the second half when Luis Suarez volleyed home an instinctive finish.

Michel Gonzalez's debut as Malaga coach ended in defeat at home to Alaves in a game Malaga deserved to win, but were denied by the saves of visiting keeper, Fernando Pacheco and goals from Zou Feddal at the end of the first half.

"We lacked clarity in the final few metres and it's a shame because this game was crucial to keep our confidence high and for our rivals to see that we mean business", he added.

"We thought that it would be hard, a game is always affected by what has happened in the previous one".

More news: Alshon Jeffery's goal? Help make Eagles' Carson Wentz an MVP

"We didn't have the fluidity we needed to overcome their deep defending". Their goal took its toll on us.

"But watching us in the build up to the game, it was clear that [beating PSG] would cost us".

"Today was decisive for their battle against the drop and they have achieved that".

Pique also tried to put the week in perspective.

After a thrilling but energy-sapping win at Napoli in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, it was understandable that Zinedine Zidane's men would be a tad sluggish in the opening exchanges.

"I have trust in the experience of my players to know that we have a lot at stake", said Luis Enrique on Saturday.

  • Tabitha Byrd